'A little bit of solace and love and compassion': Group designed to spread kindness takes on coronavirus closures

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 2:54 PM AKDT
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Danée Pontious had been excited to celebrate her son's Aidan Parrish's 6th birthday. The celebration would mean a party and a cake, a house full of decorations and friends.

But then the coronavirus happened.

The virus lead to school closures and event cancellations across the country. For Pontious it also meant she, her husband and two children would be self-quarantined for 14 days because they had recently returned to Anchorage after vacationing in Mexico.

Additionally, it meant Pontious would cancel Aiden's birthday party.

"I actually teased him in the morning that he wouldn't get any presents because all the stores were closed," Pontious wrote in a Facebook message, "and without skipping a beat, he said, 'I don't care. I just want my family."

Still, she was disappointed for her little boy and wanted to do something special for him. So, she went on Facebook and asked her friends if they would be willing to drive past her house and yell, 'Happy Birthday.'

Her friend Moira Smith saw the post and was inspired. Soon after, Smith started a Facebook group called "Coronavirus Days of Caring."

"Each day, this page will suggest one concrete, either non-monetary or low-cost way we can support and love our community and community members during these weeks / months of hardship," the page states. "Any ideas are welcome. Thanks for the caring."

One of the first missions was a birthday caravan. Last weekend, dozens of cars stopped by homes in Anchorage where children lived who'd had their birthday parties cancelled because of concerns about coronavirus.

Aidan was very surprised. Even his sister's teacher, Eric Elliott, waved from the roadside.

"There were so many people there," Aiden said.

He especially enjoyed the people who wore costumes and danced to a funky version of Happy Birthday.

"In a world where we've lost control, it was something that I could give him, and that Moira and the people who gave him the birthday caravan, they gave him a little bit of solace and love and compassion during a time where I think we we feel very isolated," Pontious said as she wiped away tears.

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